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NRCC Expects to Top March Dinner Goal

The National Republican Congressional Committee will likely surpass its fundraising goal for its annual March dinner next week, an achievement that the event’s chairman attributed to momentum created by the party’s unified opposition to the economic stimulus bill.

Rep. Peter Roskam (Ill.), who is heading up this year’s big-ticket fundraiser, said Wednesday that while he did not have the exact totals of how much the NRCC has collected so far, Members had “stepped up.— He pointed to a recent “call day— when lawmakers raised $1 million of the March 24 dinner’s $5 million goal.

“There is a sense of rejuvenation, there’s a sense of renewal, and it came when we all stuck together on the stimulus and saw the impact of that,— Roskam said. “What I have found, what’s happened is that Members have really stepped up in ways that I haven’t seen, since I’ve come — this time Members’ heads are in the game.—

NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said the fundraising success has been the direct result of Roskam’s hard work and ability to communicate and motivate Members to participate.

Minority Leader “John Boehner [Ohio] is proud of him and I am proud of him,— Sessions said.

The dinner’s goal is significantly less than last year’s event, which former President George W. Bush headlined. The goal was $7.5 million last year and $6 million in 2007; the target tends to be higher when the party has the draw of a sitting president.

One Republican fundraiser, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Members put on the “full-court press— to raise money for the dinner. The GOP consultant said Members were making an aggressive push by calling donors downtown.

Scott Cottington, a Republican consultant with 30 years of fundraising experience, said the amount of money Republicans can raise this year will depend in part on whether the donor base has had enough time to recover from last year’s election and the party’s drift away from its fiscally conservative roots.

The base “feels like we have a need to step up and become relevant again. If they believe that, then they’ll raise the money,— Cottington said.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a former House Member and a GOP rising star, is the keynote speaker for the dinner, to be held at the National Building Museum.

“The governor is using his leadership to help a state looking for leadership to get better,— Sessions said, adding that he was looking forward to welcoming his former colleague back to Washington.

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